Tonight I participated in a telephone town hall meeting with Andrew Romanoff. He's running as a Democrat to unseat Mike Coffman, R, Colorado District 6. Mr. Romanoff was Colorado's Speaker of the House through the 2010 session, leaving due to term limits and then trying unsuccessfully to unseat Democratic US Senator Bennet who was running his first campaign that year. Mr. Romanoff basically was taking on the establishment's choice for Senate and while he won the caucuses, he lost the primary. Senator Bennet won in a surprise because the Tea Party defeated their establishment candidate and that was too much for Colorado, even in a wave year where Colorado lost some Democratically held House seats. Mr. Romanoff has remained involved with the political scene, but he also took time for international travel and he has now come back to take away the seat once held by Tom Tancredo and his successor, Mike Coffman.
I was surprised to get a call tonight with an automated invitation to the town hall. It was very good to hear Mr. Romanoff and he reminded me of a number of the reasons why I worked for him in his Senate run and have read his various emails over the years detailing his work in third world countries - not just tourist trips or photo ops or junkets, but actually working with the locals in the areas. On the call he informed a Nigerian about his efforts in helping teach democracy in Nigeria.
I was impressed that he's refusing PAC money for his campaign and while I usually think that's a death knell when campaigning against an incumbent Republican, I think he's got enough of a public name because of his time with the Colorado house as well as his campaign for Senate that he clears one of the hardest hurdles of such campaigns - name recognition. I also think Mike Coffman hasn't done any favors with the voter base by being one of the more conservative Congressmen - no, he's not over the edge like the worst of the Tea Partiers, but he did question President Obama's birth status a few years ago and he did vote to shut down the government at a time when Colorado has been trying to hurriedly fix up flood damage before winter cuts off road construction.
Mr. Romanoff was asked about a number of positions and he's solidly informed and he supports Democratic positions. I do feel he's more progressive than the average Democrat in the US Congress (but not like the left-most Democrats either). He reminded me that CO-6 is evenly divided 1/3 Dems, 1/3 Repubs and 1/3 Indies. This race could be amongst the most harshly contested in the country in 2014. He said he doesn't dislike Mike Coffman and will not be attacking Mike Coffman personally in response to a question about how he'll react when the Republicans start slinging mud. I guess it's up to his staff and us public to counter the lies and hatred when they come. He mentioned the saying about lies traveling around the world before the truth gets its shoes on; I prefer the more modern saying about how they're telling lies about Democrats so we'll keep pointing out truths about Republicans (or however that goes).
I asked him about how much support he was receiving from the DCCC since I've been frustrated at how little effort they've made for this district in the past. He said he's received endorsements from all the major Democrats in the state but that he doesn't feel that the Democratic party has a lock on all the answers. He's willing to listen to the range of ideas that would come his way. I do feel that he wouldn't be blue-dog but would instead be a good, smart Democrat who would do CO-6 proud.
Mr. Romanoff published three diaries here on DKos back in 2010 but hasn't posted since then. He made a point in answering someone else's question about how his team is trying to utilize social media. When I finally got to ask my question, I asked my question and then slipped in that DKos is a good place for him to post some diaries and to engage us, as we have a number of politically active Colorado voters as well as national attention that could be raised through his efforts here. He said he would make a note of it.